RECAP: Otters take series on Davis' walk-off hit
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The Evansville Otters walked it off in front of the largest home crowd of the season Thursday night, taking the rubber match of their weekday series with the Joliet Slammers by a 4-3 final through 10 innings.
The Slammers opened the scoring in the top of the third, when Brian Parreira drove in Braxton Davidson from third on a sacrifice fly to left, but Otters’ starter Tyler Vail would limit the damage to one. Joliet led 1-0.
The Otters took the lead in the bottom of the third thanks to some clutch two-out hitting from the meat of the order. J.R. Davis worked back from an 0-2 hole to fill the count and singled to centerfield. Then, with a two-out, two-strike count of his own, Riley Krane homered to right center field to put the Otters on top 3-1.
Tyler Vail, in his first start since June 9 after coming off the injured list earlier Thursday afternoon, went three innings --- allowing only one run while striking out four.
There the score would hold as Ryan O’Reilly came out of the Otters bullpen to start the fourth. O’Reilly pitched expertly through his first four innings of relief, until Dave Matthews Jr. clubbed a game-tying, two-run, pinch hit home run in the top of the eighth for his first professional hit.
Taylor Wright came out to the mound after the home run, getting the next two outs to keep the game tied at 3-3.
The Otters and Slammers remained tied through nine innings, forcing an International Tie Breaker tenth. Evansville’s closer Logan Sawyer pitched a clutch tenth, striking out the first two batters and getting pinch-hitter Brylie Ware to pop out to Dakota Phillips to leave the go-ahead run stranded at second.
The bottom of the tenth began with Bryce Denton at second and no one out for the Otters. Andrew Penner successfully sacrificed Denton to third on a bunt, but a subsequent strikeout brought Evansville to their last out before a potential home run derby finale.
After Trevor Charpie fell behind 3-0 to Andy DeJesus, the Slammers elected to intentionally walk the Otters’ shortstop, bringing J.R. Davis to the plate with the winning run 90 feet away.
With an 0-2 count, J.R. Davis legged out a walk-off, high-chopping infield single to score Denton from third and win the game 4-3. The Otters thus took the rubber match of the series.
Logan Sawyer picked up the win, while Trevor Charpie took the tough luck loss.
Evansville will continue their six-game homestand with a series opener against the Schaumburg Boomers Friday night. First pitch in that game will be at 6:35 p.m.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.